1. Traditional Folk Games (Bai Choi)
- Address: Hoi An Ancient Town;
The most interesting part of Hoi An ancient town at night is the area near the Hoai river bank and the pedestrian streets. Golden lights from the houses on Bach Dang Street reflect themselves into the river creating a picturesque scene. This is why Hoi An is known as the Venice of Vietnam.
You can participate in Folk Games (Bai Choi) – a kind of traditional entertainment – near the Hoai River from 7pm every day. This is food for the mind not only for Hoi An locals, but also for tourists looking to gain an insight into the culture here.
Across the river is Nguyen Phuc Chu with many restaurants and souvenir shops. This street is also a place to purchase beautiful pictures of Hoi An as well as other famous tourist destinations around Vietnam.
2. A Radiant River
- Address: Hoai River;
Hoi An tourism at night is not only attractive due to the ancient town, but also because of the shimmering lights of the Hoai River.
It’s common to buy a paper lantern to place in the river and make a wish for you and your family. This is thought to bring good health, luck and happiness.
Sitting on a boat you can observe Hoi An from a calm setting while listening to the stories of this land from the boatmen.
The beautiful paper lanterns are sold along the streets of Hoi An and you should bargain with the vendors when you buy them.
Every night of 14th of the Lunar month, all electric lights in Hoi An ancient town will be turned off and replaced colorful lanterns. This is an unforgettable experience.
Another attraction when traveling to Hoi An at night is that visitors will have the opportunity to explore the rich cuisine along the river. After strolling around the Cau Pagoda, cruising on a boat down the river, visitors can stop at the culinary street next to the river to enjoy the famous dishes of Hoi An. Chicken and rice, Cao Lau, pancakes, dumplings, along with snacks such as Tao Pho and sweet soup, are all available here.
THAT’S A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT!
3. Buildings to Take You Back In Time
- Address: Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall – 46 Tran Phu Street; MAP &
Quang Dong Assembly Hall – 176 Tran Phu Street; MAP Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall in Hoi An is a typical example of the architectural style of the ancient town. Built in 1697, it was used to worship Gods who would protect the rivers, money, and children.
This was also a place for Chinese people to meet fellow Fujian countrymen who were living in Hoi An. Quang Dong Assembly Hall (Guangdong), also known as Quang Trieu Assembly Hall, was built in 1885 to worship Mazu and Confucius.
On the 1st day of every Lunar month, Quang Dong Assembly Hall holds a traditional festival to wish luck and help for people throughout the year.
4. Bridge to Another World
- Address: Pagoda Bridge (Chua Cau) – Nguyen Thi Minh Khai
The Pagoda Bridge connects Tran Phu with Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street and it is easy to reach from the ancient town. It is a temple located on a bridge over a small creek in the ancient town of Hoi An. The bridge was built in the early 17th century by Japanese merchants so it is also known as the Japanese covered bridge. The bridge is painted in red with a wooden roof and is perfectly preserved.
It is a symbol of cultural exchange between Japan, China, and Vietnam. For more than 400 years, this famous bridge has been used by native inhabitants.
It is an invaluable asset of Hoi An, a symbol of a peace, representing the spirituality of Hoi An people.
A LITTLE BIT OF NATURE
5. Escape to the Countryside
- Address: Triem Tay Village – Dien Phuong, Dien Ban, Quang Nam;
This Village is a great example of the rustic Vietnamese countryside. A green oasis, Triem Tay Village is located on the charming Thu Bon River, about 3 km from Hoi An town.
To visit Triem Tay village, travel along the road to Cam Kim commune, across Cam Kim Bridge and then follow the asphalt road to the village. Going this way, visitors can admire the vast rice fields and lush green bamboo.
Alternatively, you can also visit Triem Tay village by boat along the river, departing from Hoi An fishing port. Floating on the gentle water will be one of the most memorable experiences from your trip. Take in the fresh air and friendly atmosphere of this village.
You will be delighted to see the rows of tea, orchards, and wildflowers along the roads. The trees around the village of Triem Tay all sparkle with gold on the green leaves.
6. Be a Beach Bum!
- Address: An Bang Beach – Hai Ba Trung Street;
To reach the beach just follow Hai Ba Trung street towards the coast, and when you get to the intersection, go straight and you will come to An Bang Beach. To park your motorbike or bicycle for free, simply buy something from the vendors here.
An Bang beach is ranked as one of the top 50 most beautiful beaches in the world. With a long stretch of fine white sand, clear and fresh blue water, it is ideal for those who like to sunbathe and relax on the beach.
If you want a chair on the beach, you must pay. Alternatively, buy some food or drinks, and you can sit for free.
For the adventurous, there are loads of activities to do here such as windsurfing and parasailing. Or you can rent speed boats for excursions around the shore.
If you want to find a place that is peaceful and calm, you should go to An Bang Beach or My Khe Beach ( Da Nang ).
Ours recommend: Choose the hotels near My Khe Beach such as Hanami Hotel Danang
PARKS & OUTDOORS
7. Island Life
- Address: The Cham Islands (Cu Lao Cham) – Tan Hiep, Hoi An;
The Cham Islands belong to Tan Hiep island commune, part of Hoi An city. They are located 15 km from the Cua Dai coast and have been recognized as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
Cham Islands consist of 8 islands: Hon Lao, Hon Dai, Hon Mo, Hon Kho me, Hon Kho con, Hon La, Hon Tai and Hon Ong. The total population of these islands is about 3,000. They are a historical and cultural relic and make for a great day trip.
You can visit The Cham Islands for 1 day or for 2 days & 1 night.
Come here to relax, swim, and snorkel in the blue deep water. You can also scuba dive here among the coral, or have a campfire and stay at a local’s house.
You can buy tickets and visit The Cham Islands by yourselves or via tourist companies like Cham Island Diving, Song Hoi Tourist; Rainbow Divers
These companies offer scuba diving and snorkelling trips
How can you get to The Cham Islands?
- High speed boat from Cua Dai port:
* Cua Dai port – Cham Island: return ticket: 550,000 VND/ticket (if you visit and return within a day)
* Cua Dai port – Cham Island: return ticket: 600,000 VND/ticket (if you stay overnight at Cham Island)
- Departure and return of the high-speed boat at Cua Dai port: Usually from 8h30 in the mornings and 2h00 in the afternoons
- Time to go: you should go from March to August because of the warm weather and lack of storms.
- In case you visit the Cham Islands for 2 days, you can rent a tent and stay at the beach at night for 100,000 – 150,000 VND/a tent. You also stay at Homestays
Cu Lao Cham; Tam Hien Cu Lao Cham
homestay; Cham Island Homestay Lau Thu; Hong
- Hire a boat for sightseeing around the 8 islands:
about 600,000 VND (for 10 people)
- Snorkelling tour: 150,000 VND/ a passenger.
- Scuba diving tour: 800,000 VND/ a passenger
Visit this incredible place and enjoy a wonderfully preserved island.
8. Wartime Waterways
- Address: Bay Mau Coconut Palm Tree Forest (Rung dua bay mau) – Cam Thanh;
This place was a revolutionary base during the war between USA and Vietnam. It’s an attractive are to explore because it’s open, large and wild.
There are 2 ways to get here from Hoi An town: by road or river. If you go by river, depart from the boat station on Bach Dang Street near Hoi An Market, you will follow the Hoai River to the east for about 5 kilometers to Bay Mau Coconut Palm Tree Forest. To go by road, go along Tran Phu road, straight to Nguyen Duy Hieu, at the intersection turn right onto Tran Nhan Tong street, and go about 4 km further til you see Bay Mau Coconut Palm Tree Forest.
Both routes are great, but visiting by road is especially beautiful due to the various landscapes you pass through on the way to the forest.
The entrance ticket is 30,000 VND/per person and you can then rent a basket boat for travelling the waterways. The price is about 150,000 – 200,000 VND/boat with a maximum of 2 adults and 2 kids allowed on the boat. You should bargain if you think the price is too high!
The best time for visiting Bay Mau is from January to June because the weather is cool and too humid.
Sitting in the basket boat, you will experience the scenery of the river as you explore the tranquil coconut palm forest. Additionally, you can watch the basket boats special performance and see them race.
If you book a tour, there is a chance for you to learn some traditional fishing techniques, ride a water buffalo with a farmer, and participate in traditional folk games.
LET’S GET CULTURAL
9. Get Crafty!
- Address: Thanh Ha Pottery Village (Lang gom Thanh Ha) – Pham Phan, Thanh Ha;
To reach the pottery village follow Hoi Hung Vuong street to the intersection with Duy Tan Road, then ask the local people the way to Thanh Ha Pottery Village. It is about 2 km and takes only 10 minutes by bike.
This is a traditional terracotta village. Talented artisans produce pots of all kinds using traditional methods.
Your products will be baked, but it takes a month before it can be brought home. You must pay expenses for your products but it’s not expensive.
- Another great crafts destination is Kim Bong Carpentry Village – Cam Kim
From Hoi An ancient town, you go to Bach Dang street along the river towards Hoi An market then take a ferry to Cam Kim. It takes about 10 minutes or you can go by bicycle or motorbike. As soon as you arrive, you will see the welcome gate with a large signboard ‘Kim Bong carpentry village’.
This place specialises in elaborate carpentry works. You can get up close to the making process by visiting carpentry workshops, and even learn how to make a complete product yourself under the guidance of a talented craftsman.
10. Remains of an Ancient Civilisation
- Address: My Son Sanctuary (Thanh dia My Son) – Duy Phu Village, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam;
My Son Sanctuary was an imperial city during the Champa dynasty and is about 50km from Hoi An. It contains many ancient Champa temples beautifully situated in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains.
It is comparable to other temple complexes in Southeast Asia such as Bagan (Myanmar) and Angkor Wat (Cambodia). This was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and the Vietnam government listed this site as one of the 23 nationally important sites that need to be preserved. You can learn about the fascinating history of the Cham Kingdom when you visit here. Using baked bricks and sandstone, the Cham people built a unique architectural complex of temples over many centuries. The main temple worships Linga-Yoni – the symbol of creativity.
Although the war period destroyed much of the site, the remaining objects still provide a captivating vision of this ancient civilization.
DON’T BE LAZY
11. Biking is Best!
Hoi An is famous for the pedestrian streets around the old town.
However, if you want to explore the greater area around the city, you should rent a bicycle and head out around the city. Most hotels, motels, homestays or shops on the streets have bicycles for hire.
Cycling around the town is safe and convenient. You can wriggle through small lanes and alleys to discover a new Hoi An and all its hidden charms. You can stop anywhere to shop, enjoy local food and drinks on the streets or explore old houses. The highlight of any bike trip will surely be gliding through the lush green rice fields, which are especially stunning at sunset. It’s fascinating to pass through the Hoi An countryside and get a true picture of rural life here.
Cycling away from the noise of cars and motorbikes, without the urban sounds and smells, you will be able to appreciate the peaceful side of life in Vietnam.
12. A Day in the Life of a Farmer or Fisherman
Being a farmer and fisherman for a day, you will experience first hand how these people live by carrying water, watering vegetables, sowing and planting vegetables and harvesting products. Think you can handle riding a buffalo? This is your chance to find out! The fisherman tour is your chance to try your hand at Vietnamese style fishing, under the guidance of local fishermen. Whichever tour you choose, you will have unforgettable memories and maybe even discover some new talents!
You should book a tour at your hotel or via the above website.
13. Hustle & Bustle
- Address: Hoi An market – Tran Quy Cap, Cam Chau, Hoi An;
Hoi An market is next to the romantic Hoai River and will show you a different side of the Ancient town. You will discover fresh food in the market, and it’s a great place to purchase clothes and souvenirs at a cheap price.
For women, it’s recommended to try an ‘ao dai’, which is a traditional Vietnamese dress. You can have this, and anything else you want, personally tailored for collection within 24 hours. It’s a professional service and a chance to get something unique to wear.
For a more upmarket service, try shops such as B’Lan Silk; Yaly Coulture; Bao Khanh Silk for tailored dresses and suits of all kinds.
Remember to always bargain before you pay!
From 5pm onwards, you can enjoy the night market along Hoai River. Here you will see many handicrafts, traditional ceramics, jewelries, lanterns and souvenirs for sale.
14. The Feather Picasso
- Address: Chicken feather painting – 207 Cua Dai, Cam Son, Hoi An;
If you don’t see these pictures with your own eyes, you won’t believe it. Self taught artist Dinh Ngoc Dat has developed a special technique where he creates artworks made from chicken feathers.
In his own words: “The idea of chicken feather painting comes from a souvenir given by his close friend when travelling.”
If you travel to Hoi An, please visit the lovely small house of painter Ngoc Dat at 13 Tran Quy Cap Street to see wonderful paintings that he created from the heart. His paintings are strange and none of them are similar to each other. The topics of his pictures are mainly of tourist places in Hoi An and the various aspects of life in the ancient town.
15. Healthy Living
Address: Tra Que Vegetable Village – Cam Ha, Hoi An; MAP/
This place is 2km from Hoi An Ancient Town to the Northeast, easily visited by bicycle. Tra Que Vegetable Village has been famous for a long time because all the vegetables here are grown on fertile soil and fertilized with seaweed from the river, giving them a unique flavor.
Today the village has become an attractive tourist destination for those who want to participate in the cultivation of clean vegetables and experience the life of village gardening. You will become a true farmer by wearing the farmer’s clothes and shoes, and they will teach you how to nurture vegetables and eventually how to cook with them.
If this sounds too much like hard work, you can choose from many restaurants around the village to enjoy delicious dishes of Hoi An made with their special clean vegetables.
16. Light Up Your Life
- Address: Lantern making workshop – 103 Tran Phu Street/ 08 Tran Cao Van Street/ 41 Phan Chu Trinh Street
Hoi An is well-known not only for its unique and ancient architecture but also for its traditional lantern making process.
The lantern making profession in Hoi An began centuries ago and has improved over time. There are many artists making a variety lanterns in Hoi An. Some specialize in making frames, which create different shapes of lanterns such as spheres, water droplets, or cylinders. Another group is the craftsmen, painters who decorate pictures and patterns on silk cloths which are then turned into lanterns.
Equally interesting is the Bamboo Root Sculpture Workshop. You can book a tour at Thanh Tam Dong or 8 Phan Chu Trinh Street, or you can visit the shop directly by yourself at Phuong Do or another.
You need to contact the shop first, and then they will prepare everything before you arrive so that you can create your own bamboo souvenirs with the assistance of a talented sculptor.